Sunday, February 18, 2001

Take our Grammys quiz

History test challenges even the most ardent fans

By Larry Nager
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        With the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards coming Wednesday (8 p.m. Wednesday, Channels 12, 7), it's a good time to test your Grammy IQ.

        Since the awards began in 1959, honoring the recordings of 1958, the Grammys have had a long and controversial history. What may seem predictable — even logical — doesn't always happen.

        The first awards completely ignored rock 'n' roll. During the next decade, the most important work by such seminal artists as Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys also was overlooked.

Audio clips from Associated Press
        Even the Beatles (best new artists, 1964) were largely ignored. Revolver, the No. 1 album of all time according to the recent VH-1 poll, received one Grammy, for Paul McCartney's “Eleanor Rigby” (best contemporary solo vocal performance, 1966). That year, the Grammys' top album was Sinatra: A Man and His Music.

        The Grammy tradition of honoring older, established artists continues this year, with Steely Dan and Grammy favorite Paul Simon in the running for album of the year.

        Remembering that the Grammys remain unpredictable, try your luck on these 20 questions about past winners and losers.

        1. How did the Grammy Awards get the name?

        2. Metallica is up for best rock instrumental for “Call of the Ktulu.” In 1988, the band was nominated for the first hard rock/metal Grammy but lost to what classic rock band?

        3. The first Grammy Awards took place in May 1959 to honor the music of 1958. Elvis, who accounted for more than 50 percent of RCA Records' total sales, wasn't nominated. Only one future Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act, a pair of Kentucky-born brothers, was among nominees (in the country & western category). They lost. Name the act.

        4. Prefab pop acts like the Backstreet Boys, 'NSync and O-Town are nothing new in the music biz. What high-pitched, virtual pop act took three Grammys at the 1958 awards? (Hint: The group went on to star in its own animated TV series.)

        5. Bob Dylan, a nominee this year for best rock performance male (“Things Have Changed”), received only one nomination during the '60s (best folk recording, 1968's John Wesley Harding). It wasn't until 1972 that he won his first Grammy (album of the year). Name the album. (Hint: He was part of an all-star ensemble organized by George Harrison for one of the first big charity concerts/albums/films.)

        6. Singer and songwriter Paul Simon, a nominee for album of the year for his You're the One, made Grammy history in 1970 with Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water. How?

        7. What cable TV series was responsible for album of the year winners in 1992 and 1994? (Hint: One of the winners is a nominee this year in the traditional blues category.)

        8. Of this year's traditional pop vocal nominees — Joni Mitchell, George Michael, Rickie Lee Jones, Bryan Ferry, Barbra Streisand — who is a former best-new-artist winner?

        9. Milli Vanilli isn't the only act to win a Grammy without actually singing. In 1960, who won best new artist and album of the year without singing a note? (Hint: A stand-up comic, he went on to star in two highly successful sitcoms, both of which bore his name, in the '70s and '80s.)

        10. Elvis won his first Grammy in 1967, but not for rock 'n' roll. In what category did he win? (Hint: Elvis' Graceland neighbor, the Rev. Al Green, also has been successful in this genre.)

        11. In 1972, best new artist nominees the Eagles and John Prine, two of the most influential and enduring artists to come out of that decade, lost to what group that is best known for a song about an anonymous equine.

        12. George Harrison won one Grammy for best duo or group with vocal with a fab foursome other than the Beatles. Name the group. (Hint: It also included Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison).

        13. In 1999, which female artist set a new Grammy Record by winning five awards, including album of the year. For extra credit, who held the record before her?

        14. Which of the following did not win best new artist Grammys? Starland Vocal Band; Marvin Hamlisch; Crosby, Stills & Nash; Bobbie Gentry; Debby Boone; Men at Work; Marc Cohn; Ace of Base?

        15. In 1989, best bluegrass recording was added to the list of categories. Nominees Bill Monroe and Alison Krauss lost to what lanky, piano-playing, former member of the Grateful Dead?

        16. Of this year's best new artist nominees (Shelby Lynne, Brad Paisley, Papa Roach, Jill Scott and Sisqo), one has been around long enough to have won a newcomer award in 1991 and made five albums before the one that earned this nod. Who is it? (Hint: Unlike fellow nominee Sisqo of Dru Hill, this nominee always has worked as a solo artist).

        17. What former Cincinnatian (and world-renowned fingerpicking guitarist) has won the most Grammys? (Hint: He's better known for his “Nashville Sound” than his Cincinnati one.)

        18. What former Cincinnatian, known by a one-word nickname, tied Michael Jackson's record for most nominations in one year?

        19. What two Cincinnati-connected acts are vying for best rock instrumental this year?

        20. What was the Cincinnati connection to Santana's sweep at last year's Grammys?

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